6 September 1999

If there were such a thing as reincarnation, many melanin-challenged Americans would spend their next life as a member of a racial and/or political minority, maybe as a member of an oppressed African tribe, for good measure. But I don't believe in reincarnation, and anyway, many people do, in fact, suffer such a fate in this life. Witness the Angry White Male, pissed at something, but never quite able to grok the Who What Dunnit - maybe because they don't seem to teach history all that well in the US these days (hint: the center-of-gravity of American history tends to have more melanin and/or less power'n'money), and because the media don't bother to give him much context to enable him to sift through the talking head cacophony and disinformation.

Maybe this Angry White Male belonged to a union, before the corporation managed to wangle a series of "downsizings" (no size, in fact, being downed - the jobs were merely exported to far-away lands). Of course, even if he didn't belong to one, he would still suffer the trickle-down effect of the screwing of American unions - every working man being pissed on from a great height. (Ten demerits for the sexist "working man" construct? Yes and no).

Happy Labor Day! But isn't there a thing called "International Labor Day"? May Day, remember? In the US, back in Cold War days, you'd see on it television - footage of those grand Red Square parades, with the doddering Soviet gerontocracy looking on as the generals rolled out the hardware... ABC/CBS/NBC conveniently ignoring the May Day celebrations that went on in non-communist countries, with nary a despot, ICBM, or tank in sight. You'd think the "liberal media" would revel in showing a bunch of pinko union people parading around Paris or Athens. Did you know that May Day was Born in the USA? It began as an 1886 protest, demanding such things as the eight-hour workday. It took many decades of bolshie-beatings from cops and rent-a-thugs before such a work week became a widespread reality.

And did this Labor-Day-in-September idea come from Merkin Lefty-phobia or something? "We can't have the holiday on the same day as those commies!" Yes and no; it actually predates May Day by a couple of years, but 20th century politicians and labor leaders were quite happy to not be associated with the "bomb-throwing anarchists" and "Bolsheviks" of May. Hence this now-traditional three-day weekend we are now enjoying. Happy Labor Day. If you're nice, I'll share some nice May Day barbecue-sauce recipes with you.

Capitalism stops at nothing. That's why there's a Labor Day.

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